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Police: Cross-dressing bank robber caught red-handed

Liz Evans Scolforo
505-5429/@LizScolforoYD
  • Police say Eric Reaves robbed two York Twp. banks since October and tried to rob a third Wednesday.
  • Reaves was wearing a wig and dress during the two robberies and on Wednesday, police said.
  • Springettsbury Twp. Police said they also will file bank-robbery charges against Reaves.

A would-be bank robber dressed as a woman tried to get inside a York Township credit union Wednesday morning but was thwarted, according to police.

York Area Regional Police Detective Donald Hopple Jr. arrested Eric Reaves on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, as the man was about to rob another bank, police allege.
(Photo courtesy of York Area Regional Police)

That's because York Area Regional Detective Donald Hopple Jr. called AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union and warned them ahead of time the bank was about to be robbed, according to charging documents.

Eric S. Reaves walked through the outer doors of the bank, but bank employees had time to lock the inner doors before he could get inside, police allege.

When Hopple and York Area Officer Michael Zinn — both of whom had been tailing the cross-dressing suspect — arrived at the bank, they arrested the man, went through his purse and found a note inside that read, "MONEY NOW!! 100's, 50's, 20's," documents state.

Eric Reaves

Reaves was about 100 yards from the bank at the time, according to police.

Hopple filed charges against Reaves in two robberies and Wednesday's attempted robbery, according to documents, which state Springettsbury Township Police are expected to file charges against Reaves for one bank robbery there.

Reaves, 46, of 302 W. Cottage Place in York City, was arraigned Wednesday afternoon by District Judge Scott Laird, who set bail at $750,000, according to Laird's office. Reaves was expected to be committed to York County Prison sometime Wednesday afternoon or evening, after being processed at the county's central booking unit, a county official said.

Springettsbury case: Springettsbury Township Police Sgt. Stefan Kochansky said Reaves will also be charged with robbing the M&T Bank at 1000 Haines Road in the township on July 27. Kochansky, who supervises the department's criminal division, said that could happen Thursday morning.

York Area Regional Police arrest Eric Reaves for allegedly being a repeat cross-dressing bank robber.
(Photo courtesy of York Area Regional Police)

Reaves is charged with robbing the Northwest Savings Bank at 2220 S. Queen St. on Oct. 28 and the York Traditions Bank at 235 St. Charles Way on July 16. Both banks are in York Township.

Police alleged Reaves wore an orange wig and dresses and carried a purse when he robbed the banks.

Police also have said they suspect the robber's inclination to dress like a woman is an attempt at disguise rather than a lifestyle choice.

Police: Another bank robbed by a cross-dressing man

Tip from parole agent: Hopple and Zinn began focusing on Reaves after a state parole officer called them on Aug. 1 to say he believed the bank robber shown in surveillance photos was his client, Reaves, according to charging documents.

Reaves has a history of committing bank robberies that includes using a disguise, documents allege.

He was free on parole at the time of the October robbery but in December was put on GPS monitoring after being charged with DUI, Hopple wrote in the charging documents. The GPS monitoring stopped in June, according to Hopple.

Springettsbury Township Police say this cross-dressing man robbed the M&T Bank on Haines Road on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.

Also, police knew the York Township bank robber had fled in a gold car, and Reaves owns a gold Kia Spectra, according to documents.

They learned he owed his landlord nearly $2,000 and that he gave the landlord cash on July 18 and 19 and promised to give him more in August, documents state.

Police put Reaves' home under surveillance, and on Aug. 5 they followed him as he drove past a bank in Shrewsbury, then drove home, according to documents.

Circled banks: On Monday, police again followed Reaves, who circled the AmeriChoice Federal Credit Union on Indian Rock Dam Road and the PeoplesBank headquarters on Leaders Heights Road for more than an hour, Hopple alleges.

At one point they watched as Reaves got out of a vehicle while wearing a large orange and brownish wig and a black dress and started walking toward AmeriChoice, according to charging documents.

But before reaching the entrance, he turned around, got onto Interstate 83 and drove to Maryland before returning home, documents state.

York Area Regional Police have said this cross-dressing robber has targeted two York Township banks since last fall.

They were still conducting surveillance on him Wednesday when he left his home, got into a car and drove back to AmeriChoice, where he was arrested shortly after 9 a.m., according to police. He again was wearing a wig and a dress, police said.

Different cross-dresser: York City resident Karibe Beatty dressed as a woman when he allegedly robbed the Members First Federal Credit Union at 2145 White St. in West Manchester Township on Sept. 3, according to township police.

Beatty, 23, has been in York County Prison since being arrested Sept. 14.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.